The Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) is pushing for the second feasibility study of the Sorsogon-Samar bridge after the initial study in 2019 found the project “not economically viable.”
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 8 (Eastern Visayas) Director Meylene Rosales, the RDC vice chairperson, said Thursday the region’s highest policy-making body passed a resolution urging the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to include in its 2024 budget the conduct of another study.
The resolution signed on Sept. 18, 2023, also asked the NEDA central office to include the project in the infrastructure flagship projects list.
“It has been five years since the pre-feasibility study was undertaken and new technologies have emerged, while the continuing issue on congestion in the port of Matnog with adverse social and economic impact in Visayas and Mindanao persists and requires long-term solution,” Rosales said in an interview.
In 2019, the study found that the best alignment option was not economically viable at only 4.77 percent economic internal rate of return, which was 10 percent less than what is required by NEDA.
The study also concluded that the project is not technically feasible at an average water depth of 300 meters.
The Sorsogon-Samar project, with an estimated budget of PHP257 billion to PHP PHP 766-billion, consists of three long-span bridges – Allen to San Antonio in Northern Samar, San Antonio to Capul in Northern Samar, and Capul, Northern Samar to Matnog, Sorsogon.
Other options include the construction of a submerged floating tunnel and a deep-sea tunnel.
For decades, roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ferries have crossed the San Bernardino Strait, carrying passengers and vehicles to and from Allen Port and Matnog Port in Sorsogon. With a distance of 28 km., the average travel time is one hour and 30 minutes.
Officials pushed for the long-span bridge link construction after members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry raised the lingering issues of long queuing and congestion in Matnog port, delaying the transport of supplies from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao. By Sarwell Meniano
Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency